COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 18, 2011) – Gunmen have freed a woman, but held on to her sister in the southern Philippines, police said Tuesday.
Police said gunmen seized Nadija Alvia Saldivar, 51, and Maria Senedo, 41, over the weekend as the duo was travelling in a car in Lanao del Norte province. Saldivar was released after her family reported to have paid some P300,000 ransoms.
The kidnappers were allegedly demanding P1 million for Senedo’s freedom. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, but police suspect criminal gang operating in Lanao del Norte was behind it.
Kidnappers are also holding two Chinese-Filipino traders in CotabatoCity in Maguindanao province and IsebalaCity in Basilan province, all part of the restive Muslim autonomous region where Abu Sayyaf militants and rebels are actively operating.
Two groups are also holding a woman kidnapped last year in ZamboangaCity and a child in PagadianCity. Kidnapping-for-ransom is not uncommon in Mindanao where poverty and criminalities are rampant. (Mindanao Examiner)